SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The South Dakota Democratic Party has stood by its decision to remove its former chair Jennifer Slaight-Hansen. 

In a news release, the SDDP announced an appeals committee ruled to uphold the removal of Slaight-Hansen by a recall vote of the State Central Committee in August. 

“The evidence Ms. Slaight-Hansen provided to support her appeal did not justify changing the outcome of the recall,” the news release said. 

New elections for the state party chair and vice chair will be held Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Holiday Inn in downtown Rapid City. 

Barring any lawsuits or further legal challenges, the SDDP appeals committee decision is the final step in a lengthy process to remove Slaight-Hansen from her position. 

Slaight-Hansen was elected by the party and its executive board in February but officially took over in April after former chairman Randy Seiler died. The recall process started after SDDP executive director Dan Ahlers resigned from his position in July. Ahlers was hired in May. 

Shane Merrill, who has been serving as the interim chair for the SDDP, told KELOLAND News the recall process has been tough for South Dakota Democrats. Merrill and other Democrats across the state said the recall process opened new lines of communication between party officials across the state. 

According to the current statewide voter registration numbers from the secretary of state’s office, the number of registered Democratic voters in South Dakota (150,0738) now trails both registered Republicans (304,352) and independent and no-party-affiliation voters (151,554).